The Green Bay Packers ran their amazing streak of wins to 19 with a dominating performance over the Oakland Raiders. The final score was 46 – 16. In doing so the Packers secured a first round bye in the playoffs and are guaranteed a home field playoff game. It was a very nice pre-Christmas present for Cheeseheads.
The Packers’ defense dominated this game from the get go as Clay Matthews III caused an early interception which led to a 47-yard touchdown scamper by Ryan Grant, and the rout was on. That interception was made by reserve linebacker DJ Smith. Smith and Robert Francois have started at the inside linebacker positions the last two games due to injuries and have really played well. During last year’s championship run, numerous young Packers were pressed into action due to a rash of injuries and contributed mightily. Seemingly this trait is repeating which is a very positive statement about the Packers’ talent depth and the quality of their coaching staff.
In this game the Packers came up with a new formula to continue their winning ways. Instead of the usual high dose of high octane offense by Aaron Rodgers and Company, this time the Packers’ defense set the tempo from the onset with takeaways which totaled five on the day, four interceptions and one fumble recovery. Opportunistic defense was combined Sunday with a nice performance by the Packer running game. Ryan Grant had his best day of the season providing two rushing touchdowns.
This game was all over well before halftime by which time the Packers commanded a 31 – 0 lead. Aaron Rodgers was pulled in the third quarter. Had the Packers chosen to keep the pedal to the floor this game could have gone into the record books as one of the biggest mismatches in history as the stumbling, bumbling Raiders looked hapless for much of this game. The scores they made and yardage accumulated were in “garbage time.” On Sunday Cheeseheads witnessed a dominating performance by a Packer team that hopefully is peaking as we approach late December.
With the success, a whole lot of records are going into the books. The most impressive of which is the fact that no Packer team has heretofore started the season with 13 consecutive wins. Single season point and touchdown records have been shattered and there are still three games to play. Another mighty impressive stat is that during the course of their 19-game winning streak, dating back to last year, the Pack has not trailed during the fourth quarter. These impressive stats fuel speculation as to whether the 2011 Packers can go the entire season undefeated.
Next week’s date with the Kansas City Chiefs will be the last for the Packers on the road this year. The Chiefs are not a very good team this year and the Packers should once again be the prohibitive favorite. Cheeseheads have now seen their team perform defensively at a championship level for the first time this season. Let’s hope that such is a harbinger for next week and the weeks after at Lambeau Field. A sound defense plus Aaron Rodgers and Company = another Super Bowl victory.